The Chicago Sun-Times has taken down a controversial op-ed reprinted from National Review writer Kevin D. Williamson claiming that “Orange Is the New Black” star and transgender icon Laverne Cox is not a woman.
The Sun-Times reprinted the article on Saturday as a response to Cox’s appearance on the cover of Time magazine and almost immediately faced considerable outrage for repeatedly "misgendering" Cox and flagrantly ignoring the opinions of the medical and psychological communities on trans identities. GLAAD called the piece “ugly and insulting propaganda,” and a Change.org petition calling for its removal dubbed the article “disgusting and transphobic.”
Throughout the piece, Williamson deliberately and incorrectly referred to Cox as “he,” “him” and, shockingly, “the effigy of a woman.” Williamson more than once referred to gender reassignment surgery as “mutilation.” And while Williamson subtitled his article “facts are not subject to our feelings,” he failed to cite even a single source and neglected to note that the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association both support gender transition treatments in cases of gender dysphoria. In effect, Williamson is the journalistic equivalent of an old man yelling at a cloud.
On Tuesday, the Sun-Times pulled the op-ed from its site and issued an apology to GLAAD:
We try to present a range of views on an issue, not only those views we may agree with, but also those we don't agree with. A recent op-ed piece we ran online that was produced by another publication initially struck as provocative. Upon further consideration, we concluded the essay did not include some key facts and its overall tone was not consistent with what we seek to publish. The column failed to acknowledge that the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association have deemed transgender-related care medically necessary for transgender people. It failed as well to acknowledge the real and undeniable pain and discrimination felt by transgender people, who suffer from notably higher rates of depression and suicide. We have taken the post down and we apologize for the oversight.
Meanwhile, the original article is still online at the National Review. Williamson on Tuesday responded to his article’s removal with all the grace and tact of a 13-year-old boy, saying of the Sun-Times’ editors that “post-operative transsexuals are not the only men who have had their characteristic equipment removed.” The response goes hand in hand with Williamson’s Monday post equating calls to respect Cox’s gender identity with totalitarianism. Of course, the irony that attempting to dictate another person’s identity is inherently oppressive was lost on Williamson.